The Lovemakers Book Two: Money and nothing

ABC Books, Sydney 2004

ISBN 0 7333 1359 0 (bk 2)

Colin Roderick Award for Australian Literature, 2005
H.T Priestly Memorial Medal 2005 from the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies at James Cook University, Townsville, Qld.

It’s the late 1970s, early1980s: choices have been made, careers established and now new tales need to be told of Kevin the heroin czar, Stubbsy the entrepreneur, Gibbo the comedian and Sophie, Hannah and Carrie –three women, each set out on making their mark.

And through this decade consumed by melodrama and farce, money and nothing ambles Kim Lacy: drug importer, merchant banker – a two-faced charmer forever on the approximate make.

The second part of Alan Wearne’s Australian epic continues to chart the sleaze, mayhem and humanity that form the life of a nation.


This is a tour de force of style and observation, with an Australian language that is as artfully constructed as CJ Dennis, as deadly and ironic as Barry Humphries, as loquaciously imagined as Jack Hibberd and more mordantly observed than David Williamson…it’s a loaded vernacular, using all the rhythm and bounce we learned from the Americans, and applied to a world and characters which only we—we Australians—know.’
Garrie Hutchison

What soap opera and mini-series could only dream of.’
Ken Bolton

‘The Lovemakers can be read as an exciting story; it is also poetry on a grand scale.’
Peter Porter

Such is the sensitivity of Wearne’s portrayal of adolescence, in particular, that it doesn’t matter which Australian suburb you were brought up in, you are likely to find an important part of your own experience in this book.
Ivor Indyck


Wearne has honed a language that articulates his generation’s experience, but he has worked in as major scale, and his innovations have remade the verse novel and solved its endemic structural problems. The longest Australian verse novel is also the best.’ Christopher Pollnitz ‘Australian Verse Novels’ Heat no 7 (New Series) 2004 p. 229-252

Alan Wearne’s The Lovemakers is a book about overdoing it. Its characters have unwise love affairs, dream foolish dreams, drink too much, engage in criminal activity, amass (and lose) vast wealth, and talk incessantly, (usually about themselves)….. [it] isn’t just about overdoing it: it performs overdoing it…. The numerous characters, events, experiments with rhyme and stanza forms, all illustrate a rare imaginative fecundity and poetic ambition. The Lovemakers is nothing less than a portrait of a generation of Australians, and, in this second half of the work, [BOOK TWO], we move from the late 70s into the horrible 1980s and beyond.’ David McCooey ‘Love and Longeurs’ Australian Book Review, May 2004

There have been few recent Australian novels as ambitious as Wearne’s. Its own ‘moral sweep’ reveals a society not only vitiated by greed, expressed in comically extravagant gestures, but by lack of any self-reflection. The title jests bleakly about a want of love. Wearne plumbs the nihilistic emptiness that is deeply embedded in Australian consciousness. He intuits the spirit of that nihilism which, pretending to be hedonistic, jokes its bleakness away. The Lovemakers is the crowning achievement of a career that has been stubbornly original in the poetic forms that it employs, supple in language, astringent in thought.Peter Pierce ‘Love in the time of choleric’ The Bulletin, Feb 24, 2004

The development in the writing is extraordinary. Gone is the rather stagey poem-as-set-of-monologues of Wearne’s earlier Out Here and The Nightmarkets. In its place is a flexible mix of monologue and third-person narration. And the monologues are no longer spoken to the air; now there is always an audience….

The relationships are also much more complex. They are no longer reduced to the interaction between couples (as in The Nightmarkets), but are connections of three or more people. Wearne’s poetry has the density to accomplish this… a gritty incredibly compressed idiom driven by dramatic situations and characters voices…..

The now complete Lovemakers seems to want to survey an entire generation, and its theme is addiction as a force that binds a society together while simultaneously tearing it apart. And addiction is explored in all its forms – love, sex, power and money. …it is the saner world of friendship that this great poem seems to celebrate.’ Martin Duwell ‘Friends in low places’ The Weekend Australian (Spectrum) March 20-21, 2004 (p10)



Map icon Alan Wearne

$25 including postage within Australia